Centene Corp. (NYSE:CNC)’s share price shot up 3.4% on Thursday . The company traded as high as $70.44 and last traded at $69.67, with a volume of 2,106,462 shares changing hands. The stock had previously closed at $67.41.

A number of research firms have recently weighed in on CNC. Jefferies Group cut their price objective on shares of Centene Corp. from $89.00 to $82.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research report on Wednesday. FBR & Co reissued an “outperform” rating and issued a $90.00 price objective on shares of Centene Corp. in a research report on Tuesday. Vetr lowered shares of Centene Corp. from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $81.00 price objective for the company. in a research report on Wednesday, July 20th. Credit Suisse Group AG reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Centene Corp. in a research report on Tuesday, June 28th. Finally, Morgan Stanley raised shares of Centene Corp. from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and boosted their price objective for the company from $84.00 to $86.00 in a research report on Wednesday, June 29th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fifteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $80.31.

The company has a market cap of $11.94 billion and a PE ratio of 27.00. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $70.06 and its 200-day moving average price is $62.54.

Centene Corp. (NYSE:CNC) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 26th. The company reported $1.29 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.09 by $0.20. The firm earned $10.90 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.80 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.72 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 97.9% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts predict that Centene Corp. will post $4.29 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, Director Richard A. Gephardt sold 15,910 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, June 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $68.89, for a total value of $1,096,039.90. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, EVP Kenneth Rone Baldwin sold 6,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $71.00, for a total transaction of $426,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Other hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Burney Co. boosted its stake in Centene Corp. by 9.7% in the fourth quarter. Burney Co. now owns 15,188 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,003,000 after buying an additional 1,346 shares during the period. ProShare Advisors LLC boosted its stake in Centene Corp. by 10.7% in the fourth quarter. ProShare Advisors LLC now owns 15,447 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,017,000 after buying an additional 1,490 shares during the period. Advisors Asset Management Inc. boosted its stake in Centene Corp. by 26.6% in the fourth quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. now owns 17,868 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,176,000 after buying an additional 3,754 shares during the period. Trexquant Investment LP boosted its stake in Centene Corp. by 4.0% in the fourth quarter. Trexquant Investment LP now owns 31,400 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,066,000 after buying an additional 1,217 shares during the period. Finally, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS boosted its stake in Centene Corp. by 0.5% in the fourth quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS now owns 34,560 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,274,000 after buying an additional 180 shares during the period.

Centene Corporation is a diversified healthcare company that provides programs and services to government sponsored healthcare programs. The Company also provides education and outreach programs to inform and assist members in accessing appropriate healthcare services. The Company operates through two segments.

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